Cannabis news briefs: 14 million new Marijuana users in 10 years, Canopy Growth signs Martha Stuart, and Facebook lightens up on weed

A new survey of cannabis users suggests that adult use is up by ten-million persons since 2009 when the estimated count of Americans who had used cannabis in the prior month stood at 14.4 million. The study was released by New Frontier Data and MJ Freeway which claims it reviewed over a billion dollars in sales data.

Data suggests demand for flower will continue to drop, while demand for vape oils and concentrates will increase. New Frontier Data project lead John Kagia said new growth segments such as younger moms and older consumers rely on the "discreet, non-smoking" edibles, concentrates and vaping options.

Canopy Growth to partner with Martha Stuart on CBD

Canopy Growth Corp. has further expanded its hemp-derived CBD footprint, this time signing TV host Martha Stewart “to advise the company” on CBD products.  Stewart's Sequential Brands is expected to work on various topical, skincare and ingestible options, but will initially focus on CBD for pets.

[Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard is the latest 2020 contender to introduce legislation to legalize cannabis]

It remains unclear if Stewart will be a media spokesperson or merely lend her name to a line of CBD products. Stewart and music icon SnoopDog are currently in their second year presenting weekly cannabis-touching cable TV show,  "PotLuck Dinner," on VH1.

POTNETWORK EXCLUSIVE: Lamar Odom introduces the Odom Vape Pen at TPE 2019 from Potnetwork on Vimeo.

Denver’s Vape & Play social club closes after one month

After investing $500,000 in development and legal costs, Denver's Vape & Play has closed social marijuana venue has closed down, having only been open slightly more than one month. Owners spent the past two years and a half million dollars attempting to satisfy local regulations. Denver has already rejected two other proposals for social venues with another pending.

The Coffee Joint, co-owned by the next-door dispensary, remains open. Vape & Play COO Megan Lumpkins told local media she was looking for an outside buyer. Denver City Council voted last week to make the I-300 social consumption pilot program permanent and is expected to approve changes to minimum distances from schools, parks, etc. Meanwhile, Oregon and Las Vegas officials are also considering allowing social consumption clubs.

Facebook to lighten up on weed

Facebook is currently weighing whether to change its rules related to the promotion of marijuana, saying, “Our policies at the moment do not allow for the sale of marijuana on the platform. We want to consider whether we can loosen this restriction, especially in relation to medical marijuana, legal marijuana and brick and mortar stores.”

The social media giant will consider allowing the advertising of marijuana as well as methods for blocking cannabis-related content from users under legal age.

SOL Global announces launch of Heavenly Rx

SOL Global (CSE:SOL) (OTCQB:SOLCF) has announced the launch of Heavenly Rx, promising a line of traditional CBD products that includes tinctures and vapes and pet products. Formerly Scythian Biosciences Corp., SOL hopes to take advantage of the 2018 farm bill. SOL updated their name in October, shortly after making executive changes and selling LATAM Holdings to Aphria.

[USDA and FDA issue statements on farm bill implementation, suggest process could run into 2020]

In December, the company entered a strategic partnership with OG DNA Genetics, an award-winning cannabis breeder with two million square feet of medical marijuana growth in California. With this, combined with their existing presence in Florida, SOL is well on their way to building an ample real estate portfolio in the American market. PotNetwork’s Laura Kuhl has more on this story.

Trump administration seeking input on the reclassification of marijuana

The  U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking the public for advice on the potential global reclassification of marijuana. The move comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that cannabis and its derivatives be rescheduled under international drug treaties.

Proposal would allow Native American tribes to legalize weed

A new bill known as the Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act would protect Native American tribes from any federal action resulting from the legalization of marijuana on tribal land.

State-by-state

New Hampshire may be the next in line to legalize recreational marijuana via legislative action. Bill, HB 481, passed with a 10-9 vote in the state’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and is headed to the House of Representatives, where a “floor fight” over the bill is expected.

[Despite incentives, people of color are not flocking to the cannabis industry]

The state House of Representatives has voted to pass legalization bills in 2014 and then again in 2018. However, this is the first time that a legislative committee has ever officially taken a pro stance on pot. Republican governor Charles Sununu has threatened to veto any marijuana legalization bill that ends up on his desk. However, vote counters in the Granite State have suggested that a potential House override appears promising. PotNetwork’s Meg Ellis has more on this story.

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Other committee actions in state legislatures considering legalization bills have moved ahead in New Mexico, New Jersey and Vermont (for retail sales). Also, recreational bills in Illinois, Connecticut, and Minnesota show promise.

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Lawmakers in Texas heard over two hours of testimony related to proposed legislation to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Four committee chairs have signed on as cosponsors of the bill which would drop jail time for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and reduce a $2,000 fine to $250 for the first offense.

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In Oregon, a Senate committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday to consider a bill which would allow the operation of social consumption lounges and public tours of cannabis cultivation facilities.

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The Vermont Senate has approved a bill which could set up a recreational marijuana market in the state. A procedural vote is expected on Friday, after which the bill would be forwarded onto to the House of Representatives for consideration. If enacted, the bill would establish the Cannabis Control Board to regulate the production and sale of marijuana in the state. An excise tax of 16 percent and a two percent optional local will apply.

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In Nebraska, a petition to put the legalization of medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot was approved by the secretary of state approved. The initiative would amend the Nebraska Constitution to “provide the rights to use, possess, access, and safely produce cannabis, and cannabis products and materials, for serious medical conditions as recommended by a physician or nurse practitioner.”

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